It’s a funny thing, but over the last few years I have found myself, occasionally, thinking less radically about the future than I should be and I can’t help but think that this stems from the fact that I am working on building up/rebuilding a legacy publisher. I suppose all of us print dominated publishers are the same. Of course, when I notice it, I scare the hell out of myself and try and snap out of it, but it worries me all the same:
What’s more, even publishing insiders who have a phenomenal grasp of digital may end up still thinking within existing paradigms, cleaving to industry norms despite their best efforts. The same happened in journalism and it’s very hard to combat because we aren’t always aware of our own inbuilt biases and assumptions. To paraphrase journalist Steve Yelvington, human mothers only give birth to alien babies on SyFy.
via Will you be in the nine percent of publishers that survive? | FutureBook.
Early mover advantage seems to be working out pretty nicely for JA Konrath.
This is only Konrath’s experience, but I wonder how much it is replicated? I see a world of extremes emerging in digital publishing. It is one where the tendency in the physical book world towards best sellers garnering outsized market share and sales is even more dramatic. BIG winners will emerge but I suspect the mass of authors will be only very modest sellers and what’s more they will be increasingly face more and more competition from more and more writers.
My best selling Hyperion ebook, Whiskey Sour, has sold 2631 ebooks since 2004. That’s earned me about $2200, or $34 a month since it was released.
$34 a month per ebook is a far cry from the $1700 a month per ebook I’m making on my own.
Why are my self-pubbed ebooks earning more than Whiskey Sour, which remains my bestselling print title with over 80,000 books sold in various formats?
Because Hyperion has priced Whiskey Sour at $4.69 on Amazon, and I price my ebooks at $2.99.
For each $4.69 ebook they sell, I earn $1.17.
For each $2.99 ebook I sell, I earn $2.04.
So I’m basically losing money hand over fist because Hyperion is pricing my ebooks too high, and giving me too low a royalty rate.
Even the print sales (Whiskey Sour just went into a fifth printing) don’t come close to making up the money I’m losing.
via A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Konrath Ebooks Sales Top 100k.
This is a not improbable outcome of the future development of digital publishing. Mike Cane is thinking pretty far ahead here, it’s worth reading and thinking about!
Oddly enough met someone today whose vision it is to make sure these kinds of problems go away for digital content and digital intellectual property.
In five years, the contract Publisher A had for the book expires. Publisher A no longer has the right to offer that book.
The way lawyers work, Publisher A will have to remove that book from its servers.
Your book goes POOF!
This should not happen.
via 21st Century Book Publishing Problem « Mike Cane’s iPad Test.